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It’s official! Drought’s over

Tia Lynn Ivey News

The steady and daily rainfall over the last two-and-half weeks has prompted Georgia officials to lift the drought designation on Morgan County, which was previous under a Level 1 Drought restriction. According to Lucy Ray, the Morgan County Ag and Natural Resources Agent and County Extension Coordinator, the drought was lifted earlier this month due to the excessive rainfall.

“The south part of Morgan County the Past week was still under abnormally dry conditions before the recent bout of rainfall,” explained Ray. However, Ray cautioned that due to Georgia’s overall dry climate, citizens should still be mindful of their water usage.

“The drought designation has been lifted, but I feel like we are always just two dry weeks away from another drought,” said Ray.

While local officials are happy to see an increase in water supply and drought restrictions ease, the copious amounts of rainfall poses certain drawbacks, too.

“We are facing a unique set of challenges,” said Ray.

The downside to the sudden and daily rainstorms over the last couple of weeks include crops becoming susceptible to fungal diseases, difficulty for farmers to plant and harvest crops, mosquito breeding at a faster pace, and trees falling down.

According to Morgan County Dispatch, the county has tended to 10 fallen trees alone in the just the last week.

“We have gotten some big benefits due to the rainfall, but we also have gotten such a large amount of rain in such a short time that there’s some fallout from that,” said Ray.

Even before this recent bout of rainfall, the unusually wet fall and winter months this past year has lifted most of Georgia out drought. Now Morgan County can operate under the less restrictive “non-drought” standards along with the rest of the counties in Georgia.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) lifted the drought restrictions on Morgan County but cautions all Georgia citizens to practice water conservation and comply with a 2010 law mandating water-use restrictions.  All Georgia are still required to follow non-drought water use restrictions despite the drought designation being lifted. The Water Stewardship Act of 2010 allows all types of outdoor water use, but limits landscape watering only before 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Georgia officials encourage water conservation all-year-long to thwart the annual dry seasons from drastically depleting the state’s water supplies.  The EPD recommends various techniques to conserve water.

Check for and repair leaks inside and outside the home

Shorten showers and turn off water when shaving or brushing teeth

Fill dishwashers and washing machines. Make sure there is a full load every time

Replace older toilets with high-efficiency models. If your home was built before 1994, you may qualify for a toilet rebate, Choose efficient appliances. Look for EPA WaterSense and ENERGY STAR labeled products when shopping for new appliances and fixtures

Scrape dishes before washing them. Avoid using the garbage disposal. It wastes a lot of water and can contribute to pipe clogs.

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